Wondering How to Become an Actor?
Will Acting Classes for Beginners Help Me?
The short answer? Yes, definitely. Taking acting classes for beginners is a sure way to hone your craft and start your acting career. But you probably have more questions. So let’s get into it!
What training or skills do I need to become an actor?
How long does it take to become an actor?
How much do acting classes cost?
How do I find good acting classes near me?
I’m a beginner; where do I start?
I’m an actor with training and experience; are acting lessons necessary?
I’ve signed up for my first acting class! How do I prepare and what should I expect?
What acting classes are enrolling now?
Acting classes for beginners cover any course or class that focuses on the fundamentals of acting, like voice and speech, body and movement, or time-tested acting techniques from the masters, like Constantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg, Uta Hagen – or any of the current master teachers teaching their own techniques. Actor training can delve into specific types of acting like on-camera acting for TV and film, voiceover, and commercials; or various types of performing for the stage, like classical acting, Shakespeare, and musical theatre. Acting classes can also help you improve their skills in one of the specific elements of acting, like improvisation, script analysis, or audition skills, with classes on cold reading, monologues, or self-tape auditions. There are classes to help actors who have an accent or want to learn a new dialect, as well as classes that focus on writing scripts and even making a web series for actors who want to create their own content. Other skills and qualities that will help you achieve your goal of becoming an actor are patience, curiosity, determination, the ability to look inward and self-reflect, and a willingness to learn; but most of all, a love of acting! Good actors are inquisitive, imaginative, empathetic team players and good listeners who enjoy the detective work required to build a living, breathing character from words on a page.
In our fast-paced world, it’s understandable to want to frame things in regards to how many years they take to accomplish, so that you know the length of the journey before you embark. But becoming an actor is not a straight-forward, linear endeavor like becoming a doctor, teacher, or mechanic. Making it to Hollywood or becoming a famous actor is possible, but by no means guaranteed. In the words of Peter Sarsgaard, an alum of T. Schreiber Studio, “If all the circumstances of acting are made too easy, then there’s no grain of sand to make the pearl.”
There’s no one course of study, no specific requirements, and no definitive number of acting classes that will guarantee becoming a professional actor. So focus on learning the craft, improving your skills, challenging yourself, and becoming a better artist each day. If you want to become an actor, focus on the journey itself, not the destination. How long does it take to become a great actor? A lifetime.
The cost of acting classes varies by the quality and location of the school, the experience of the teacher, the length of the course, and various other factors. So rather than thinking in terms of how much you should pay for acting classes, first do some research to find a reputable school that’s right for you. Read about the studio’s history, check out their mission statement, review testimonials from their students, and peruse their faculty bios. Good schools will take the time to speak with you about your class options, and help you figure out the best place to start. Generally speaking, the average cost for classes at high-quality acting schools is between $20-$30 an hour for group classes, (although they aren’t billed by the hour) and $85-$125 an hour for private lessons or coaching.
Courses that train people to become better actors come in all shapes and sizes, and acting classes are offered in all 50 states and throughout the world. So how do you find the best acting school or studio for you? In normal times, this can be a difficult task, but in a post-Covid world, access to the best acting studios in major cities is suddenly available to everyone. Instead of settling for the best acting lessons near you, you can now train with the top acting teachers in NYC right from your home – online via Skype or Zoom.
For the beginning actor, classes that teach acting fundamentals (like Beginning Technique, Meisner Technique, or Meisner/Strasberg/Hagen) at a reputable, established school are a very good place to start. In addition, some of the best ways to become a better actor can be achieved at home: reading plays and movie scripts, watching movies and steaming live theatre, and reading books on acting – whether they’re classic texts outlining Stanislavsky’s System or Strasberg’s Method, books by living master teachers, or autobiographies of more modern actors, directors, and playwrights. Continue to familiarize yourself with classic playwrights while also seeking out scripts and screenplays from new writers, and read these texts out loud, either by yourself or with some friends!
Acting classes are for everyone, from absolute beginners to Oscar winners. In addition to teaching you new skills, taking acting classes can expand your network of fellow actors and other industry professionals who know you and your work. In addition, some studios mount high-quality theatrical productions, create films, and provide other opportunities for their students. Most importantly, because good acting involves reacting, it’s important to work with and play off of other people in the moment while you continue to develop your craft and fine-tune your technique.
When you’ve already built your foundation of training, you’ll want to take either a part-time acting class to brush up on a specific skill set or technique, or join an audition workshop or scene study class. Audition workshops, as the name implies, prepare you for the rigors and challenges of the audition room and help you polish the material you’ll be performing to book the roles you want. Scene Study classes are like an actor gym, a place for more advanced actors to practice acting with their peers and keep their skills sharp. They are generally on-going classes that continue from month to month.
All acting classes are different, and what happens in class will depend on the specific acting teacher, topic, and location. In general, you should dress comfortably and have some water handy. For longer classes, you may also want to have a snack prepared to enjoy during a short break. It’s also a good idea to be prepared to take notes on concepts or instructions you want to remember by having a notebook and pen nearby. But most importantly, come to class with an open mind, a positive attitude, a playful spirit, and a desire to learn. No matter how talented or skilled you are, there will always be something you can improve, or some new tool to add to your actor toolbox. So leave your self-criticism and judgment at the door and come ready to have fun. You’re following your dreams…who knows what will happen?
Upcoming Classes and Workshops
On-Camera 1: BegMegan Grace Martinez
6:00PM - 10:00PM for 6 weeks starting February 15
INSTRUCTOR: MEGAN GRACE MARTINEZ. Meets IN PERSON once a week on Wednesdays/6 classes.
Commercial ActingBill Coelius
3:30PM - 6:00PM for 5 weeks starting March 2
MEETS ONCE A WEEK ON THURSDAYS/5 CLASSES - ONLINE - EASTERN STANDARD TIME
Beginner Technique ClassPamela Scott
11:00AM - 2:00PM for 8 weeks starting March 4
INSTRUCTOR: PAMELA SCOTT Meets IN PERSON once a week on Saturdays/8 classes.
Beginning Meisner TechniqueNicolas Landry
6:00PM - 9:00PM for 5 weeks starting March 6
Meets IN PERSON twice a week on Mondays & Thursdays/10 classes. .
Beginning Hagen/Strasberg/MeisnerPamela Scott
11:00AM - 2:00PM for 8 weeks starting March 9
Meets ON LINE once a week on Thursdays/8 classes. (No class April 6)
Beginner Technique ClassPamela Scott
3:00PM - 6:00PM for 8 weeks starting March 12
INSTRUCTOR: PAMELA SCOTT Meets IN PERSON once a week on Sundays/8 classes.